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March 29, 2016 Leave a comment

 

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TODAY’S TOP RETAIL STORIES

March 29, 2016 Leave a comment

 

FierceRetail March 29, 2016
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Today’s Top Stories

1. Harris Teeter makes shopping more express

2. Sears’ Eddie Lampert buys debt

3. EBay optimizes for 5 stages of shopping

4. Instacart expansion keeps rolling along

5. Hy-Vee opens training and fulfillment center

This week’s sponsor is Shoptalk.

Also Noted

New drones roll through Walmart country

Stories from around the Web

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Today’s Top News

1. Harris Teeter makes shopping more express

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Harris Teeter is expanding online ordering options with the addition of home delivery through UberRush.

The Matthews, North Carolina–based grocery is piloting the program at a single Harris Teeter store in Washington, D.C.

The grocer currently operates an online platform that allows shopping via the Web or mobile device for in-store pickup. Now shoppers within a five-mile radius of the test store can have purchases delivered same day.

Shoppers log on to the Harris Teeter mobile app, order, checkout and select delivery or pick-up options. For those choosing delivery, the store dispatches an UberRush driver and the shopper receives real-time updates, much like ordering a car through the Uber app.

The service is only available to mobile users; computer orders are restricted to in-store pickup.

“Harris Teeter is excited to enhance the online ordering process by offering home delivery,” said Danna Robinson, communication manager for Harris Teeter. “UberRush delivery will help us reach our customers where they are by making the grocery shopping experience even more convenient.”

Harris Teeter joins a growing list of retailers partnering with third-party delivery services to provide same-day service in this highly competitive market.

And the competition is only heating up as UberRush, Google Express and Amazon Prime Now all ramp up service offerings and partnerships. Instacart recently announced a partnership with Whole Foods, expanding delivery and making Whole Foods an investor in the business.

For more:
-See this Harris Teeter press release

Related stories:
Delivery.com delivers lunch to WeWork members
Amazon launches crowdsourced delivery Flex
Target to test grocery delivery
Deliv acquires delivery startup WeDeliver
Deliv expands to new cities and malls

2. Sears’ Eddie Lampert buys debt

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Sears Holdings’ (NASDAQ:SHLD) chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert has acquired a portion of a $750 million loan that will help Sears pay down older debt. But the structure of the loan ensures that its backers will be paid off in the event of Sears’ liquidation, according to Reuters.

   Eddie Lampert

Lampert bought the debt through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, and now has a couple hundred million dollars of a new term loan, according to the report. The loan is backed by Sears’ inventory and receivables and pays an interest rate of more than four times that of the average loan made to other retailers.

The information comes from unnamed sources and Lampert declined to provide Reuters with a comment. Sears’ official stance is that it has enough financial resources and liquid assets fund its transformation. The company is focused on growing through its Shop Your Way member program, but continues to close stores and report lower sales year over year.

Sears has also relied on selling its assets, including real estate and other businesses. Sears Auto Centers could be the next such asset spun off to fund this transformation.

For more:
-See this Reuters article

Related stories:
Sears’ new exec to help manage transformation
Sears CEO: Retail is struggling
Sears to accelerate store closings
Sears to shutter some Kmart stores
Sears’ sales plunge 20%

3. EBay optimizes for 5 stages of shopping

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | By Laura Heller

EBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) has rolled out new enhancements to its technology platform to provide shoppers with better search returns and make it easier for shoppers to discover and compare products.

The changes are based on an examination of shopper behaviors that eBay breaks down into the five stages of shopping.

“When looking at shopping behaviors, we often find that providing too many options can be overwhelming for some people,” said Jason Fletchall, eBay’s product manager for shopping experience. “In our research, we’ve found that there are five stages in the shopping journey: want, discover, compare, decide and buy. Our goal is to help shoppers quickly make sense of the options available to them, and help them easily compare options so they can decide with confidence.”

So eBay made improvements to its Product Related Pages (PRP) and Search Results Pages (SRP). It leveraged machine-assisted learning to reorder the items listed on category pages during the search and discovery process and on the SRP pages as shoppers begin to comparison shop.

The site provides a “top pick” and offers more options to better show the breadth of inventory, according to the company.

“I see these enhancements giving our shoppers a much easier time finding the best values for them,” said Fletchall. “Through simple browsing, shoppers will naturally land on these pages which help them narrow down which items they want to view.”

EBay celebrated its 20th anniversary in September and refocused its digital presence by spinning off PayPal, streamlining mobile offerings and testing new delivery and membership programs.

For more:
-See this eBay announcement

Related stories:
EBay launches shipping membership program
EBay shuts down 3 apps, delivery service
EBay turns 20 with new app
EBay offers valet service for high-end apparel
EBay expanding local delivery test

4. Instacart expansion keeps rolling along

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Instacart is expanding in Southern California, adding Orange County to its growing list of service areas.

Shoppers can now order from Whole Foods Market, Gelson’s Market, Stater Bros. Markets, Ralphs, Smart & Final, Costco (no membership required), Petco and H Mart. Delivery is promised within one hour.

The Los Angeles market grew by 350 percent in 2015, making Orange County a natural next step, according to Instacart.

“We’ve received thousands of customer requests from Orange County residents to bring Instacart to their community, along with incredible interest from retail partners here,” said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart. “We are passionate about saving our customers time and money, which is why we partner with local and national retailers to bring our customers groceries from their favorite stores wherever, and whenever they want them. We couldn’t be more excited to launch in Orange County.”

Instacart’s initial delivery area in Orange County covers Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Corona del Mar and much of Irvine.

Instacart is aggressively expanding to new markets and with new partners. It recently announced a partnership with Whole Foods to be its exclusive delivery partner. The supermarket company is also investing in Instacart, according to terms of the agreement.

California is a hot market for grocery expansion. Aldi is prepping for its Southern California entry and Whole Foods will open its first 365 Market in Los Angeles this year.

For more:
-See this Instacart announcement

Related stories:
Instacart taps vendors to offset costs
Whole Foods expands with Instacart
Whole Foods invests in Instacart
Instacart, AllRecipes partner for ingredient delivery
Instacart adds same-day service to D.C. market

5. Hy-Vee opens training and fulfillment center

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Hy-Vee is about to transform a shuttered retail store into a training facility and fulfillment center to support the grocer’s growing online operations.

The 82,000-sq.-ft. facility in near the company’s Des Moines headquarters was purchased for $3.6 million, according to The Des Moines Register. Once remodeled, it will come online in the fall.

The building will house Hy-Vee University to provide training in retail services, management and business leadership. There will also be an advanced masters of retail operations. Additional facilities include a test kitchen and lab, auditorium and collaboration areas.

It’s a chance for Hy-Vee to expand programs currently offered at is corporate campus.

“We want to make sure we’re training our employees on all the latest trends in grocery and in their specific department areas,” Denise Broderick, Hy-Vee VP of education and training, said in a statement. “With this new facility, we can bring in multiple outside experts to one location or use video conferencing technology to virtually connect with them.”

The facility will do double duty to support Hy-Vee’s online sales, relieving the growing burden on stores. Online ordering is available for at all 240 Hy-Vee stores, and shoppers can opt for in-store pick up or home delivery.

For more:
-See this Des Moines Register article

Related stories:
Hy-Vee expands online shopping to all markets
Aldi’s prices cheaper than Walmart’s
Traditional grocery stores rank highest for customer loyalty
Dash’s Markets launches delivery service
Instacart adds same-day service to D.C. market


Also Noted

New drones roll through Walmart country

The University of Arkansas is about to begin testing a terrestrial drone, or robot, from London-based Starship Enterprises that could be used to make deliveries. Story

© 2016 FierceMarkets, a division of Questex, LLC This email was sent to budley5@gmail.com as part of the FierceRetail email list which is administered by FierceMarkets, 1900 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 628-8778.

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FBI Opens San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone; U.S. Drops Demand on Apple

March 28, 2016 Leave a comment

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MARK LENNIHAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
By DEVLIN BARRETT
Updated March 28, 2016 6:29 p.m. ET
153 COMMENTS
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department filed court papers Monday saying it had cracked the iPhone of a San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist, seeking to drop its legal case to force Apple Inc. to help them unlock it.

The move signals a temporary retreat from a high-stakes fight between Washington and Silicon Valley over privacy and security in the digital age.

The filing short-circuits a pending legal showdown over whether the government can force technology companies to write software to aid in criminal investigations, but it is unlikely to avert the long-term conflict between federal agents and technology executives over how secure electronic communications should be, and what firms should have to do to help the government access their customers’ data.

U.S. Says ‘Outside Party’ Could Unlock Terrorist’s iPhone (March 22)

U.S. Prosecutors Again Blast Apple in San Bernardino iPhone Dispute (March 10)
Apple Opposes Judge’s Order to Help Unlock Phone Linked to San Bernardino Attack (Feb. 17)
The iPhone Standoff Debate: Privacy, Security and What’s at Stake (Feb. 17)
The decision by federal officials to drop the case comes a week after prosecutors bowed out of a planned courtroom showdown, telling the magistrate judge in the case that they may have found a new way to access the phone without Apple’s help.

In Monday’s filing, prosecutors revealed the method had in fact worked and Apple’s assistance was no longer necessary.

Justice Department spokeswoman Melanie Newman said the FBI “is currently reviewing the information on the phone, consistent with standard investigatory procedures.”

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She also signaled that while this particular phone is no longer at issue, the broader fight over encryption-protected technology is likely to continue. “It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails. We will continue to pursue all available options for this mission, including seeking the cooperation of manufacturers and relying upon the creativity of both the public and private sectors,” she said.

​An Apple spokesman didn’t immediately comment.

The dispute between technology companies such as Apple and the federal government has been brewing for more than a year. Firms increasingly have used encryption as a default setting for their products, and they have declined to help law-enforcement agencies open suspect devices in some cases.

That conflict came to a head in December, when investigators recovered the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook after he and his wife opened fire with rifles on a holiday office party in San Bernardino, killing 14 and injuring 22. Investigators couldn’t open the iPhone because of security features that don’t allow more than 10 guesses of an iPhone’s passcode.

The Justice Department eventually got a court order compelling Apple to help them bypass the passcode security features. The company fought the order, setting the stage for a possibly precedent-setting court fight on privacy.

As the two sides geared up for that fight, FBI officials said they had exhausted all possible avenues of getting into the phone before getting the court order against Apple.

In the public and legal debate that followed, the FBI argued the law doesn’t support a company making phones that are “warrant proof”—unable to be opened even with a signed order from a judge. Apple said it was fighting the order because to do what the FBI wanted would create a new security vulnerability for untold millions of iPhone users.

The filing doesn’t indicate what method the FBI used to access the data on the phone, nor does it say what, if any, evidence related to the attacks was found on it. ​

Officials have been tight-lipped about who offered the FBI a solution to the technical challenge, and how. A person familiar with the case said the method wasn’t developed by a government agency, but by a private entity.

The government is still engaged in a broader fight with Apple over what role, if any, the company should play in helping investigators access data on their customers’ phones.

Previous court filings indicated prosecutors were seeking similar orders against Apple involving at least 15 phones seized as part of unrelated criminal investigations around the country.

State and local prosecutors, most notably Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, have also pressed technology companies to help detectives access data on suspects’ phones.

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License! Global weekly e-news

March 28, 2016 Leave a comment

 

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March 28, 2016
Recent Top Stories in Licensing
Minnie Mouse Inspires Kate Spade
Disney Consumer Products has tapped Kate Spade New York for a range of Minnie Mouse-inspired products. More…
American Girl Builds New Toy Line
American Girl, a subsidiary of Mattel, has expanded into the construction category with its first line of construction toys for girls.More…
Nick Unveils TMNT Toy Line
Nickelodeon has tapped licensees Playmates Toys and Mega Bloks for new toy lines inspired by the upcoming Paramount Pictures filmTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. More…
Krispy Kreme Unveils Cake Mix
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has partnered with General Mills’ Betty Crocker to create a new cake mix kit that incorporates the doughnut maker’s original glazed flavor. More…
Tycoon Execs Expand Roles
Tycoon Enterprises has appointed Arturo “Choco” Czonstkowsky to the role of senior vice president. More…
Other Top News
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The Latest Mobile Retailer News

March 28, 2016 Leave a comment

 

 

L’Oreal directs traffic to retailers’ e-commerce sites with a new purchasing button in its Makeup Genius app. [Retail, apps]Full Story
Hilton brings an IBM Watson robot to life as a concierge

Hilton’s robot Connie can answer questions guests ask about their stay. [Travel and hospitality]

Exclusive Q&A with Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Steve Ommen

Dr. Ommen is one of Mobile Strategies 360’s Mobile Champions. We caught up with the mobile leader to get the latest on mobile developments at Mayo Clinic.

Mobile inspiration means cash for Wayfair.com

Home décor retailer Wayfair.com says its Idea Boards, which let customers save items for design inspiration, drove 31% of mobile app revenue in January. [Retail, apps]

PayPal’s shares drop after threat of Apple Pay on mobile web

Mobile payment buttons PayPal and Apple Pay will be pitted against each other if Apple Pay expands to mobile browsers. [Payments, technology providers]

Samsung plans to invest in artificial intelligence

Samsung looks to inject life into sales with the addition of artificial intelligence. [Technology providers]

United HealthCare posts healthy mobile site performance

American Airlines continues its descent to the bottom of the 3G index, landing at No. 23. Meanwhile UHc.com’s mobile efforts pay off. Read the full story and see how this week’s rankings played out.

Mobilegeddon: Not Over Yet

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Register Now [Sponsored by SLISystems]

Access to mobile health data helps patients take better care of themselves

Exclusive: Most popular Android travel apps in the U.S.

Marriott checks out connected TVs

From Mobile Insiders

Why all mobile ad publishers need to embrace web-to-app marketing

Despite the massive shift in consumer time being spent in mobile apps, a large part of the marketing and advertising ecosystem is still operating within a framework that was born long before the advent of smartphones and tablets. That needs to change. Read Now

By Brian Klais, Pure Oxygen Labs

COMPLIMENTARY EXECUTIVE REPORT

The Mobile Champions

Hand-selected by the editors of Mobile Strategies 360, The Mobile Champions lead the mobile charge at their respective companies. We spoke with each of these mobile leaders—who hail from a range of industries including healthcare, retail, restaurants, hospitality and education—to hear more about their mobile journeys in their own words.

Download this free 20-page report, compliments of our sponsor OpenMarket

Mobile Leaders ClicksMob and AppGrade Announce Merger

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Kaspersky Lab and WISeKey Launch an Encrypted Vault for mobile

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Bits: Making the Technology of the Future Work Today

March 28, 2016 Leave a comment

 

 

 
 

 

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Monday, March 28, 2016
Daily Report
Making the Technology of the Future Work Today | “I stood alone in an empty room beside a ferocious dinosaur,” writes Brian X. Chen. He isn’t happy about it. Yet.
Mr. Chen is reviewing the first games for Oculus Rift, the virtual reality, or VR, system released by Facebook on Monday. He does so with a certain crabby excitement: It requires a $1,500 computer-and-goggles setup that is something of an eyesore, the rig doesn’t fit, and some of the early games don’t feel as if they need this elaborate production.
In other words, it feels like the early days in most path-breaking technologies. A little-noticed quality of the future is that it arrives consisting mostly of the past. All innovations consist of things already around us, with a few innovations — and people, even video game designers, interact with them using the rules they already know.
It took about 40 years after the invention of the printing press for paper folding to commonly create smaller, cheaper volumes. In the early days of cars, people drove “horseless carriages,” fearful of travel at a ripping 20 miles an hour. The first web pages looked like cluttered magazines. In every case, it took awhile to learn the rules of the new tech, and then embed them into the product.
That seems to be where VR is now, here but not yet at home. Mr. Chen likes what he sees, but is waiting for more content, delivered better, and using features like motion controllers that will show up later this year.
Other things are also on their way, and could eventually make VR as ordinary a part of life as the iPhone (first released to polite bemusement in 2007, without the apps that made it essential.) Facebook’s work in livestreaming and 360-degree cameras are an attempt to build a network that can easily handle VR globally.
As we recently wrote, some of the biggest tech companies are racing to make artificial intelligence part of the ordinary computing platform. This isalready reshaping both the architecture of computing, and the kind of start-ups we’re seeing in Silicon Valley.
If the past is any guide, A.I. will be part of VR, once designers figure out how all this stuff should hang together. But that is all in the future. Which is, in a small way, always showing up in tech.
The Oculus Rift is the first virtual reality product of its kind to reach consumers.

The Oculus Rift Is Here, but Virtual Reality Is Still Rough Around the Edges | The headset from Facebook’s company is pricey, setup is clunky, use is taxing and content could use more inspiration. Still, the technology transports.

Diane Greene of Google said teaching companies how to use A.I. will be a big business.

Silicon Valley Looks to Artificial Intelligence for the Next Big Thing | Tech’s new architecture melds large computing clouds and artificial intelligence to create efficient computing resources and data-based businesses.

Lee Se-dol of South Korea, a champion Go player, on March 15 after losing the final match against Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, in Seoul.

The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future | Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft are using high salaries and games pitting humans against computers to try to claim the standard on which all companies will build their A.I. technology.

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Levi’s is working to squeeze wasted water from its clothes.

March 26, 2016 Leave a comment

(BLOGMASTER NOTE: my company, AM4U Inc has a patented method to dye and print active sportswear fabric and apparel using NO water at all, and  anywhere in the world! see our videos:  http://www.youtube.com/user/AM4Uvideos/playlists)

In Its Quest To Decrease Water Use, Levi’s Is Open Sourcing Production Methods
From stonewashed jeans without the “wash” to using more recycled cotton, Levi’s is working to squeeze wasted water from its clothes.

A stonewashed look usually involves a lot of water. But they realized it was possible to get the same result with ozone gas.Levi’s has spent 9 years perfecting techniques for reducing the water in your jeans.Now they’ve decided to make all of those techniques open source.</p><p>If everyone adopts them, they say the industry will save 50 billion liters or water.</p><p>The production and development teams came up with a list of alternative, water-saving ways to make jeans.</p><p>A stonewashed look usually involves a lot of water. But they realized it was possible to get the same result with ozone gas.

01 /05 Levi’s has spent 9 years perfecting techniques for reducing the water in your jeans. 02 /05 Now they’ve decided to make all of those techniques open source. 03 /05 If everyone adopts them, they say the industry will save 50 billion liters or water. 04 /05 The production and development teams came up with a list of alternative, water-saving ways to make jeans. 05 /05 A stonewashed look usually involves a lot of water. But they realized it was possible to get the same result with ozone gas.

When 20 competitors recently descended on Levi’s Eureka Innovation Lab—the test kitchen in San Francisco where Levi Strauss & Co. develops all of its new products—it was the first time that another brand had set foot inside.”Our CEO actually came in and said, ‘You know, we’ve never had you in here, and we don’t expect you to ever be in here again,'” says Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability for the company. “But we want to share this with you because it’s too important.”

Levi’s has spent the last nine years perfecting techniques for reducing the water used to make a pair of jeans or a denim jacket. Now they’ve decided to make all of those techniques open source. If everyone adopts them, they say the industry will save 50 billion liters or water.

Apparel, it turns out, is a thirsty product.
Apparel, it turns out, is a thirsty product. When Levi’s analyzed a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans in 2007, calculating the environment impact of every step in the life cycle from growing cotton to manufacturing and a consumer doing laundry, water use stuck out. A single pair of jeans had 3,781 liters of “embedded” water.

The company started trying to bring that number down. The production and development teams came up with a list of alternative, water-saving ways to make jeans. A stonewashed look, for example, usually involves a lot of water and detergent. But they realized it was possible to get the same result with ozone gas and only a thimbleful of water.

“To get any particular finish…on a pair of jeans or on a denim trucker jacket, our designers and our developers create a recipe,” he says. “Essentially they realized that by experimenting with these steps, like experimenting with a recipe, you could cut out some steps and still get the same look.”

Five years later, the company says it has saved more than a billion liters of water.
In some cases, they were able to reduce the water used in the textile finishing process by 96%. They called the new line “Water Less,” and brought it to market. Five years later, the company says it has saved more than a billion liters of water.

“Our vendors love it because they save money on it,” says Kobori. “They use less water, they use less energy to heat the water, so they actually save production costs.”
The production team now has 21 different techniques that can product particular colors, or a particular feel, with less water. In the workshop they held with competitors, they handed out the instructions, and brought in a vendor to explain how it worked in the factory.

At the end of 2015, 28% of Levi’s products were made using Water Less techniques. By 2020, the goal is 80%. Now, every new product developed in the innovation lab uses the new techniques. The company is just working on the R&D to change some older products. “We continue to learn more every year, every season,” Kobori says.

Almost a quarter of the water used in the lifecycle of a pair of jeans comes after the jeans are made, when you’re washing them in the laundry. So Levi’s has also been trying to influence consumers, changing the care tag to say “wash less, wash cold, line dry, donate when no longer needed.”

Wash less, wash cold, line dry, donate when no longer needed.
“You don’t need to wash every time you wear your jeans,” Kobori says. “In fact, if you wait and wash only after every 10 wearings, you can save 50% of the water that you use as a consumer to wash your jeans.”

The company also buys cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative, a program that works with cotton farmers to teach them how to use less water and less pesticide. In Pakistan, a country that struggles with drought, farmers that are part of the initiative use up to 18% less water. They also learn to increase yields; in some cases, the farmers make 45% more than they did before.
By 2020, Levi’s will buy 100% “sustainable cotton,” which they define as cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative or recycled cotton. Recycled cotton is the next challenge—recycling the fibers means they lose strength, but the company is developing ways to increase the percentage of recycled cotton it can include. If the cotton is recycled, it can massively reduce the amount of water needed to produce it.

Obviously people like it, because it’s cool to have these old worn-out Levis.
They’re also trying to build a closed loop: When you’re done with your jeans, you can now drop them off for recycling at a Levi’s store. Some of those jeans may go straight back to other consumers.

“We’ve actually started taking some of those Levis and repurposing them, embellishing them a little bit, and actually reselling them as vintage Levi’s,” says Kobori. “Obviously people like it, because it’s cool to have these old worn-out Levis. But from a sustainability standpoint, it’s also great, because we continue to extend the life of the product. In this world that we’re in of fast fashion, we’re actually the ultimate slow fashion brand.”

And, of course, they’re hoping others will follow. “This whole issue of water use in apparel is big,” he says. “And if we can do something, obviously we can have even greater impact if we get others involved.”

All Images: courtesy Levi’s

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